Albania suspends Golden Passport Scheme in effort to reassure European partners

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Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has announced that the country’s Golden Passport Scheme has been temporarily suspended, after pressure from EU and international institutions against such programmes continued to mount.

Rama confirmed this decision at am eeting of the the European Union (EU)-Albania Stabilization and Association Council meeting. Josep Borrell, the vice president of the European Commission, and Oliver Varhelyt, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, were present.

According to Rama, Albanian authorities have made it clear that the Golden Passport Scheme has been halted until the situation is cleared at the European level. Reports indicate that Albania is waiting for developments from the European Court of Justice.

Last Autumn, the European Commission announced it would refer Malta to the EU Court of Justice for its continued refusal to end its golden passport investor citizenship scheme.

International anti-graft institutions have regularly spoken out against these kind of schemes. Transparency International’s Maíra Martini, an expert on corrupt money flows, said that “despite overwhelming evidence that golden passport schemes put the entirety of the EU block at risk, Malta refuses to put a final end to its programme. We are glad the European Commission is keeping the pressure on Malta by referring it to the EU Court of Justice, but it is unfortunate the situation devolved to this point – and further action is needed to mitigate the dangers posed by the scheme.”

As for Albania, the Commission also urged the country several times not to introduce this program. In addition, in its fifth report under the visa suspension mechanism the Commission called authorities in Albania to terminate this scheme.

“Setting up an investor citizenship scheme would be contrary to the recommendations made in the Fourth Report under the Visa Suspension Mechanism and the 2021 enlargement package,” the report noted.

via Visa World, International Investment, Transparency International

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